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Brazil mourns over Pele

Brazil mourns over Pele

Pelê e Lula

Amidst inauguration of New Presidency 

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Amsterdam, January 2nd 2023– Pelé’s wake is being staged at an altar at the Vila Belmiro stadium of the club Santos, where Pelé spent most of his playing career, according to a statement from the club.

Former President Jair Bolsonaro decreed three days of national mourning following the death of football legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento -Pelé- Thursday at the age of 82, while preparations are underway for his burial next Tuesday, one day after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is sworn in.

“It is declared official mourning throughout the country, for a period of three days, counted from the date of publication of this decree, as a sign of grief for the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé, former soccer player,” the document published in the Diário Oficial da União (Official Gazette) read.

The government of São Paulo and the Mayor of Santos’ office announced seven days of mourning for the footballer’s death.

President Lula said: ”I confess that I was angry with Pele because he always massacred my Corinthians. But, first of all, I admired him. And the rage then gave way to the passion of watching him play with the Brazilian National Team’s # 10 jersey,“ Lula wrote. ”There had never been a 10 like him. Thank you, Pelé.“ 

A fire department vehicle will serve as a hearse to parade Pele through the streets of Santos towards Vila Belmiro stadium for a public wake between 10 am Monday and 10 am Tuesday.

Pele bought a niche at the Memorial Necropolis Ecumenica, in Santos, on July 7, 2003, when he was 62 years old. At the time, he said the place “did not look like a cemetery” and noted that it also conveyed “spiritual peace and tranquility.” 

The niche is located on the ninth floor, overlooking the Vila Belmiro stadium. The choice of the floor has to do with a tribute to his father, João Ramos do Nascimento, better known as Dondinho, who used to wear the Numer 9 jersey 9 in his footballing days.

”We identify very much with Santos and decided that here we are going to be together forever. My grandmother (Ambrosina), my aunt Maria and my father were from Minas Gerais, but before they died they had already said they would like to stay in Santos. Anyway, Santos is in my heart,“ Pelé said back then.

Also buried there are Pelé’s brother, Jair Arantes do Nascimento, or Zoca, who died in 2020; his daughter, Sandra Arantes do Nascimento, who died in 2006, and even Antonio Wilson Honório, better known as Coutinho, his partner in the mythical Santos two-time world champion striker in 1962/1963, who died in 2019.

”Through football, he made Brazil known to the world. He transformed soccer into art and joy,“ Bolsonaro posted on Twitter.

But the new president of Brazil Lula wrote: ”I confess that I was angry with Pele because he always massacred my Corinthians. But, first of all, I admired him. And the rage then gave way to the passion of watching him play with the Brazilian National Team’s # 10 jersey,There had never been a 10 like him. Thank you, Pelé.“

”Few Brazilians took the name of our country as far as he did. No matter how different from Portuguese the language was, foreigners from the four corners of the planet soon found a way to pronounce the magic word: ‘Pelé,’“ Lula insisted.

”I had the privilege that younger Brazilians did not have: I saw Pelé play, live, at Pacaembu and Morumbi. Not playing, no. I saw Pelé put on a show. Because when he got the ball he always did something special, and many times it ended in a goal,” he said.

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